Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  8 (1884), 118–28.

The Great Western March

Thomas Wentworth Higginson




Population, Statistics, Mapping

    Claims that the 'newly published volumes of the United States Census for 1880 give, with an accuracy of detail such as the world never before saw, the panorama of this vast westward march [across the American continent]. It is a matter of national pride to see how its ever-changing phases have been caught and photographed in these masterly volumes, in a way such as the countries of the older world have never equalled, though it would seem so much easier to depict their more fixed conditions. [...] the successive centres [of population] for the United States are here exhibited on a chart with a precision as great, and an impressiveness to the imagination as vast, as when astronomers represent for us the successive positions of a planet'. With 'this striking summary, the census report gives us a series of successive representations on colored charts, at ten-year intervals, of the gradual expansion and filling in of population over the whole territory of the United States. No romance is so fascinating as the thoughts suggested by these silent sheets, each line and tint representing the unspoken sacrifices and fatigues of thousands of nameless men and women'. (123)

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